Posted by: katelynclark12 | March 12, 2015

Foul in Women’s Sports

One of my biggest loves is sports. All kinds of sports, from basketball and football to curling and gymnastics. The sports world would not be the same if there had been no Title IX or woman who had to break the barrier and show the world that we are a force to be reckon with. There is still a lot of thing that we need to work on as a society. We still look at them as ‘female athletes’ instead of just athletes, that they are not as good or a talented as the men. The commercial above is from Nike and it is showing that women want to be known for their talent and their skill, not because they are a woman playing sports.

Look at all the greats, from tennis star Billie Jean King to Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit, they all had to face the critics, the hater, and the people who told them that they couldn’t do it because they were a woman. Billie Jean King in her prime asked to go head to head against Bobby Riggs, a retired men tennis player. Before the game, if you asked anyone in the stand who they taught was going to win they would have said Bobby, because he was a man. King humble the crowd when she wiped the floor with Bobby, this is one of the biggest turning point in sport history. For me, this game show that a woman can do anything a man can do and even surpass them. The thought that we as a gender are inferior is complete rubbish, but it is ingrained into us from an early age, that boys will away be better at sport than girls.

One of the biggest thing that plague women sport in today’s society is that if you are a talented athlete that you are most likely are a dike or a lesbian. Being tough and competitive are qualities that great athletes have, but these qualities on a female are considered to be unattractive and make a women masculine. I remember playing basketball in high school and my teammates and I would make comments such as “Oh, I bet she’s a lesbian” or “She’s kinda butch,” these comments would mostly likely would have been targeted at one of the better player on the opposing team, just to tear them down. Looking back I can see that first, I was not a nice person sometime but secondly, I fell into the stereotype that if they have more masculine qualities that it automatically made them a lesbian. That is not the case, as my mom would always say “Don’t base of book off it’s cover” and that is exactly what I did. We should start think that a women that are tough and competitive is normal and that those trait aren’t a bad thing.

Will there be a day where we don’t criticize a woman athlete on her appearance, but on how well she played the game? Where in a middle school pick-up basketball game the little girl will be picked first because she the best on the court? A day where the women’s games will have just as many fans as the men’s games because they are legends in the making?

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Responses

  1. I also have a passion for sports. I love the way muscles work, I love the way a body moves, I love to watch an athlete have complete control of every muscle, or the complex calculations and measurements the brain makes with every movement. I also love to watch sports because professionals are doing these complex movements as their job. It amazes me. I never knew there were laws passed so I could play sports growing up. I had no idea me playing the sports in school happened because of Title IX. As a high school athlete, I saw the boys teams getting more funding, which made me angry. I also heard the male athletic director tell me that I would have to buy the team lacrosse balls. I saw the small but noticeable hints that my sport was less important than the boys. This idea of male superiority is ingrained in a female athlete, telling her that her talents are not worth the time or money. Yes I am just a NARP in college now, but I am learning that society told me and the girls at my school that we were not worth it. So I believed it. I see that now women are not considered serious competitors but are. Women constantly have to prove themselves.
    Fortunately, I do see things changing. My sister is still in high school and plays field hockey. She told me about her teams success and how people are coming to games now. People want to come watch them win. The players are getting recognized on the announcements. They get new equipment when it’s needed. All of this is happening because there is a new athletic director and she is a woman. This change brought a new respect to female sports. There are male managers for female teams and male water boys, which were historically done by females. There are girls in the weightlifting classes, and girls are encouraged to take them. After reading the article “Leadership, Sport, and Gender,” I saw how having a woman as athletic director can be essential for change. She makes women important and she is showing the students, teachers, families, and community that women are just as important as men. Could a man do this? Maybe. But is Mrs. Criswell challenging history, and overcoming opposition? Yes, and this is what our society needs to change.

  2. I love that you chose to write a post about gender stereotypes in relation to sports because I know that I experienced this situation understood by myself and created by those around me. In middle and high school I played soccer and field hockey for my schools and always chose the soccer cleats or field hockey gear that didn’t look “girly” because I didn’t want to be mistaken as a girl who wasn’t serious about her sports. In a documentary that I watched about female athletes produced by ESPN, there is a particular line that struck a nerve in me about the categorization of female athletes. Someone speaking in the film explained that there are only two molds of successful professional female athletes: the “all-American” or the “vixen.” Professional female athletes are cast into these molds almost instantaneously after they become well-known/ popular in the public eye and then are criticized when they try to act outside of the box they’ve been put in.
    I only hope that one day female sports will be as popular as male sports based on the skill of the players rather than based on the type of outfit or stereotype the sport has. Just because a female athlete chooses not to wear makeup or dresses in a more androgynous fashion, it does not mean that she’s a lesbian or less-attractive than her fellow athletes. The success of sports should be dependent on the skill of the players, not their appearances.

  3. I have experienced both sides of your question. Last semester my room mate’s mom found out that I play soccer and then saw a picture of me and my sister at prom (not knowing that it was my sister…even though we’re twins?) and asked my room mate if I was a lesbian. It is completely normal for girls to take pictures with their friends at prom, as well as completely normal for girls to take pictures with their siblings at prom, so I’m under the impression that she assumed I was a lesbian simply because I play soccer; if I didn’t play soccer, I don’t think a picture with another girl at prom hanging on my wall would have even given her a second thought.

    Oppositely, however, whether it was in elementary school, middle school, or high school, I was always one of the first to be picked at recess and gym for sports. It was never abnormal for a girl to play sports and be good at them. I don’t know if its because I hung out with all the guys so they viewed me as “one of them” or if kids that I went to school with simply didn’t care if a girl was athletic or not. I’m sure other girls in high school would make lesbian comments behind my back, but I never heard anything personally. I did, however, hear team mates call girls on the other team lesbians as an insult. Sadly, this is still the case at the collegiate level.

    I think it mostly depends upon a person’s upbringing and the values and morals that they grew up around. If a child was raised to think that there is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, then calling someone a lesbian won’t be an insult. But if a child was raised to believe that it is wrong, then calling someone that could be thought of as an insult.

  4. This is an excellent topic to bring up! As an athlete here at CNU I have seen many different stereotypes being thrown around and what surprises me the most is that most of them are coming from people who are not involved on any athletic team on campus. I feel as if men athletes are more comfortable around women athlete’s strong and confident personalities. Either they have respect for us or they simply have gotten used to it. Will I ever be able to squat as much as a football player? Heck no! But every time I talk about my sport and the effort it takes I receive nothing but respect from male athletes. Every sport has it’s nuances and its stereotypes. Mostly it’s how we dress or our mannerisms and that won’t ever go away I think. But in terms of women earning equal recognition for their participation and achievement in sports there is a lot of work to be done. While in our CNU athletic bubble I feel equal and respected by my male counterparts outside the bubble is a very different story. No one ever talks about women’s sports, it’s a topic that is brushed off and often seems not important enough to talk about. The only women’s sport that regularly draws attention is beach volleyball and that just draws upon a whole other argument of objectification. I am appalled at the under recognition that women athletes receive and I will always be a firm advocate for women’s equality in sports. I believe that this is something that can change and would be easy to change.

  5. I can’t say for sure whether women in sports will ever be weighed as much as men but I can say for certain that I wish with all my heart to happen. My little sister LOVES sports, her favorite channels are the ESPN channels, she checks stats on her phone constantly and she practices in almost all of her free time. When I think about the possibility that she will have less of a fanbase potentially just because shes a women, it infuriates me. I’ve seen men get fame putting in much less effort then she has, and I want to live in a world where she gets her dues.

  6. I really love that you bring in your own experiences into what we have been learning in class and what you found on your own. The video is very interesting because of the emphasis is places on making all athletes equal – it doesn’t tear down the men. As for your questions – I don’t know if women athletes will ever be considered on the same plane as men athletes, but I think the fact that this conversation has started is going to start making a difference. I hope that one day this will happen, but I honestly don’t think that will happen during our lifetime because of societal expectations. While huge strides have been made in the feminism area, there are have also been huge waves made in the other direction of setting expectations of women. With this dichotomy that has been presented, it’s hard for society, and specifically women to know what to think. But, really, the most that can be done is bringing awareness to this issue and really encouraging women to be their best and encouraging all of society to respect everyone.

    I do hope that one day everyone will think the way you do. The world would be a much better place.


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